There is a variety of methods that cybercriminals use to attack businesses and consumers in order to steal sensitive personal information like account numbers, passwords, and contact lists. Additionally, the distribution and possession of illegal images and videos, like child pornography is a growing concern among law enforcement. However, some internet crimes can occur without the perpetrator even knowing it, which is why it is important to know how to identify these crimes so you avoid getting into trouble with the law.
Cybercriminals use email, malicious websites, text messages, and voicemail to carry out phishing attacks that solicit personal information from individuals or companies. Phishing attacks usually appear to come from an official or trustworthy source and often look legitimate, which is why you should never click a link or respond to a message without first verifying the sender.
Real Estate Fraud
Criminals place ads for real estate properties online that suggest buyers will be getting a great deal for properties they don’t own or don’t exist. The criminal will then slip off with the mark’s money when the deal closes. Another common real estate scam is escrow wire fraud. With this scam, fraudsters set up fake websites for title or lending companies that buyers are working with. When the buyer follows instructions to wire money for escrow, the criminals steal the funds, leaving the buyer with few options for recovering their hard-earned money.
With more people relying on computer networks and electronic data sharing to function in both their work and personal lives, cybercriminals are finding creative ways to steal personal information. All a criminal needs is a person’s Social Security Number, name, and address to open a new line of credit. With account numbers, cybercriminals can drain a person’s assets. The best defense against identity theft is to monitor your accounts and credit reports and periodically change your passwords.
The FBI has several task forces to combat child pornography online and track down criminals who solicit minors and obtain illegal images of children. Although state and federal laws are broken when a person creates, possesses, sells, or distributes pornographic images of a minor, identity theft, fraud, and entrapment can sometimes result in innocent people facing child pornography.
If you or someone you know has been accused of committing an internet crime, please call (800) 462-7160 today to schedule a case consultation with Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP to discuss possible defenses.